Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Unexpected #2: March 11th, 2011.

I haven't posted in a while, for a couple of reasons.

One is that I hadn't really had any news about the trip planning since I last updated, except for booking the hostels (and the hilarity of not being able to understand the girl at Sakura Hostel - Asakusa when she asked me what my nationality was.   I kept thinking she wanted my id number.), so I was waiting for something new to talk about.

The second reason is that I became extremely depressed and worried about whether or not the trip would actually happen.

It's hard to explain my feelings over what happened on March 11th, 2011.  Two months EXACTLY before we were booked to take off, an earthquake hit Japan, causing a massive tsunami and destroying whole towns and killing thousands.  I know we all saw it in the news, so I don't have to go over any details about it, but I woke up that morning and almost couldn't get out of bed.  I guess numb is the best word to use for how I felt.

I felt grief-stricken for the people of Japan, to lose that many people in that short amount of time, to have entire towns wiped out to nothing... it was horrible.  And I felt horrible as well, and a little guilty, because I couldn't help being upset over what this might mean for my trip.  My trip is nothing compared to the lives lost.  It's a selfish feeling, but I was so depressed.  I'd been talking excitedly about this trip for over a year now to anyone that would listen, and once news broke of the nuclear crisis, everyone I'd told came up to me that week and demanded to know that I absolutely would NOT be taking the trip to Japan.

What could I do but shrug and say: "We'll see", when in actuality, I just wanted to scream.  I felt sick and I couldn't handle it.  I didn't want to think about what I was going to do about the trip, even the smallest mention of Japan shot my heart down into the pit of my stomach.  I felt like my mom during 9/11, glued to news networks like CNN and NHK.

In all honesty, it took me a while to really understand the nuclear chaos that was happening.  What a meltdown actually meant (you know, that it wasn't going to explode into an a-bomb-like mass of radiation particles raining down on everyone), what would happen in the cleanup and what the far distance between Fukushima/Sendai meant for my trip.  I came to the conclusion, after researching and going over news sites and talking to people who are there living in Tokyo, that my trip is still going to happen.  I'm still going.

The earthquakes don't scare me, while the aftershocks are big, they're still far north, and while Tokyo is feeling them I feel pretty safe knowing that if I'm going, at least I'm going to the safest city to be in during an earthquake.  :)  The nuclear thing, in truth, makes me a little nervous, however, all the research I've done makes me feel better about where we're going to be in relation to where the plant is.  I'm just starting now to get excited and feel happy again about the trip.  The last thing we have to do is order the train tickets.

The only thing that's really bothering me at this point is that I'm not sure if my traveling partners will still go.  I've pretty much made up my mind, but I know that they're still iffy about it.  I can't blame them, a lot of people are terrified about the whole thing.  I can only hope that they make up their mind to still go and feel comfortable enough to go to Tokyo.  Traveling by myself I'm okay with.  Key word being okay.  I'm not going to be thrilled to be going alone, but being by myself won't stop me from going.  I'm too determined for that.

For now, I'll keep a close watch on the news so I'm updated, and I'll keep hoping that things get better for the Japanese people, as well as for my trip.

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